Farmers keen to take advantage of the grow-your-own boom, by leasing land to local community groups, are being invited to attend a free event in Chepstow on October 21, to view a successful scheme in operation.
More and more farmers are renting land to community growing groups across the UK, as a way of diversifying their income or utilising underused land. However, many farmers remain unaware or skeptical about the idea and how it can be potentially profitable as well as create strong community benefit.
The event at Hanley LandShare in Tidenham, Chepstow, has been organised by the Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS), an independent programme operating in both England and Wales (where it was launched last month), which aims to increase community access to land across the UK.
Attendees will take a guided tour of a community garden operating on Hanley Court Farm and hear the experiences of owner Lyndon Edwards, who has leased part of his land for use as a community garden. He will explain his motivation to contribute something to the local community and how it is run as a genuine commercial enterprise - he receives 10 percent of the community growers produce as well as an annual fee. Plans are also in motion to incorporate the produce into a farm shop and to start a community bartering scheme.
Practical advice at the event will cover:
How to get started
What community gardens need from their site
How much rent can you charge
How to deal with a community group
Can you get a community group to leave when asked
Leases and planning permission
CLAS Advisor Jade Bashford, who has organised the event, said: “This is a great opportunities for farmers who want to diversify or learn some more about in-and-outs of leasing land to community groups.
“From a farmers point of view the idea may seem daunting at first, but there are increasing numbers of successful working relationships between farmers and community groups that benefit both sides.”
The event starts at 10am at Hanley Court, Tidenham, Chepstow NP16 7NA and lunch will be available at the end of the session. Those attended are advised to come dressed for a farm walk.